Kindle Forum banner
1 - 11 of 11 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,565 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have extra free time this summer, and as usual I've saved up ten times as many things to do as I have time to do it. I also have been so busy, I have a pile of things I've let slide, including anything relating to good habits (like eating or exercising or doing anything at a set time).

I may just give in and implement a full-blown "GTD" system. (GTD stands for Getting Things Done -- a great book and method by David Allen, particularly designed for people who are both naturally disorganized and also very busy.) That's a great method for creative types because it isn't about regimenting time, it's just about tracking tasks -- basically getting everything including trivia into the system so you don't have to worry about forgetting anything.

But that takes extra effort up front, and I don't necessarily need to do that. I might just need a flexible way to regiment my time. When I'm all flaky and wandery, I need to give myself microtasks at 15-20 minute increments. But when I'm on a roll, I need a few hours clear so I don't obsess about anything else.

So just looking for inspiration on what you guys do, if you do anything.

Right now I'm thinking about calendar options. I know everything is moving toward merging all calendars -- so that your lap top and your handheld, and your google calendar and all that all have the same info. I can see the point of that, but when it comes to planners, I really am much more of a splitter than a lumper. I want actual separate calendars for different tasks, ones which work in different ways.

I love paper calendars, but they are not customizable. I figure that electronic calendars will become much more capable of separating things even as they are more capable of lumping them together too. Anybody use Google calendar for anything wild and complicated? Any power iCal users out there? Chalkboards? Whiteboards? Postit notes?

Camille the Kerfuffled
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
681 Posts
I use DayTimer, but I use the Franklin Planner System.

There are different pages and styles available, so while one cannot customize it fully, DayTimer does permit a great deal of flexibility. And, may I suggest, that would be a good thing for you since, by your own admission, you are disorganized. In today's world, we face the dilemma of too many options. Boundaries give us freedom.

Psychologically, there are tangible advantages to writing down a Things-to-Do list, vice typing the same list into a PDA. And there is a satisfaction to ticking off items on that list.

All the best in your search.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,716 Posts
Writing work schedule: The Freelancer Workweek schedule (paper) from Productive Flourishing.

For other things, I'll have Remember the Milk (web app) or iCal e-mail me reminders.

I used Google calendar as an office administrator to e-mail myself a to-do list each day, as well as reminders about who had upcoming time off and such.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,565 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Antares: oh, yeah, there is a lot to be said for paper. As a matter of fact, "Getting Things Done" fanatics love to use what they call the "Hipster PDA," for organizing. (Which is basically a pack of 3x5 cards and a clip in your back pocket.) I LOVE paper.

My main problem is that I have five or six separate calendars with separate needs, and no one Day Planner really works (also I've never found one that is 24 hour in terms of scheduling - which is critical for me).

Carradee: I'll look into iCal for reminders. Though I don't usually need actual reminders, it would be a way to get things into email.

While was composing the first post, I realized that I really do need to get back into the GTD system, and I came up with an alternative to one of his records keeping that will work digitally just exactly the way I need to:

One GTD recommendation is the old newspaper "tickler" file. It's a series of 43 folders: 31 for the days of the month and 12 for upcoming months. You keep them organized as a perpetual calendar -- so today being June 11, you have 11-31 at the front of the file, then the July folder, then the next 1-10 days to represent the beginning of July. After that you have the upcoming months in order from August and around back to June. As things come up you put them in the appropriate folders. And as each day comes along, you pull out the appropriate folder for the day and work through it.

It's a great method for us paper lovers, but I don't work at a desk, and I move around too much, so I always end up abandoning.

I realized this afternoon that I could do a modified tickler file on my computer desktop -- only go week by week, rather than day by day. I have a very irregular schedule on a daily basis, but the weeks are regular. (Plus I have a weekly posting cycle on the blog, so that also works with it.) So I just create a plain text document for each of the next few weeks, and then come for upcoming months. Like weekly To Do lists.

I think I'm going to like this, because I prefer to use my calendar as a reference -- when a movie is coming out, when payday is, etc. And I'm used to using text documents that way. I track a lot of things in text files.

Camille
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,229 Posts
Camile,

I try to follow GTD - Merlin Mann, David Allen... I used to use Franlin Covey, but I've since moved over to electronic GTD. I'm on a Mac, so I don't know if this helps you any. I currently use Things by Cultured Code, but I'm starting to get enough projects and directions that I'm taking a strong look at Omnifocus. Things is pretty, and it's simple. Syncing between devices (iPad, iMac, iPhone) is nearly non-existent. At least, OTA. Omnifocus has a learning curve, but is more customizable and is stellar at OTA sync. It also has some bells and whistles such as sending tasks directly from mail.

I'll be interested to hear what you decide on.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
212 Posts
As a serial procrastinator, the Now Habit by Neil Fiore changed my life.  I never dreamed of accomplishing what I did after reading that book. 
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,565 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Modwitch -- that's actually why I like GTD.

The idea is that it's a major brain drain to remember things.  While there's a lot more to it than that, that's the issue in a nutshell.  Our minds won't let go of something until it is reliably assured that it won't be overlooked for forgotten.  Just making lists and having a schedule won't help you, because it requires excessive maintenance... unless you stop letting the schedules and lists rule you, but rather to use those tools as servants so you don't have to worry about it.

Or as I prefer to think of it: it's like having enough closet space, rather than feeling guilty for having a cluttered closet. 

It's extremely useful for the happily disorganized and nonlinear thinkers like me.  The main problem is shaking free of old thinking, so that you don't see a list as a command.  It's a container.  It holds your stuff for you so you don't have to worry about it.  (I think that's why so many GTD people don't like to use computers, but prefer folders and physical pieces of paper -- it feels more like your STUFF and less like your chores.)

My problem right now is that I have NO requirements on my day, except for the two days I work.  That makes it easy to either forget to eat, or to eat all day.  To spend the day checking states and forums.  And GTD is not very good at giving you structure -- it just gives you tools to help you make use of whatever structure you might want.

Which means the main thing is that I have to find a way to nail down a few things each day. 

I think that's what I need.  Not a organizational tool, but a ROUTINE.  And the routine doesn't have to be productive in itself.  It just needs to mark the time and get me into the right habits.

I usually leave myself notes to remember things in the morning, but I think instead of that, I need to exercise in the morning.  Nail that down.

Camille
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,565 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I should add that if you don't have any trouble getting things done, then you've GOT the method you need.

(I feel the need to add this because so many organization and productivity freaks seem to think that you somehow owe it to the world to use their method anyway.)

Camille
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
339 Posts
I use my PDA, and also Google calendars (plural, I have four set up for different purposes). My Google calendar doesn't sync to my PDA (I use a "legacy" Palm TX, so I'm not even sure that's possible), but I don't really use them in the same way. My PDA is mainly for the hourly schedule of any given day, plus a list of floating tasks I need to do "sometime" that day or week. I use the Google calendar for scheduling long-term and things like my blog schedule and my writing calendar (both of which I share out on my web site, which is where the links point to, updated Sundays). The Google cals are kind of a "big picture" thing that I update weekly or whenever necessary, while I slot things into my daily routines with the PDA every morning (since I always have that with me, and can set alarms for things like "take out the recycling" or "start the dishwasher" - those automatically carry over to whenever the next time they need to be done is).

Unfortunately, that level of organization tends to drive more people nuts than it would help. ;-)

I live my life by my routines though - I've always been fairly organized, and I'm a very linear thinker, so routine and habit is comfortable (and comforting) for me. I'm decidedly agitated when anything interferes with what I normally do at a given time (unless I'm completely on schedule or ahead...in which case it doesn't matter), which is probably more of a failing, but it is what it is.

Good luck finding something that works - I'm very much a proponent of people figuring out how *they* work best, and then developing a system around that. Mainly because none of the "canned" systems ever worked for me - I had to develop my own by just paying close attention to what my natural mode was, and then working with that. Once you find that sweet spot though, it's awesome. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
257 Posts
I found this essay that Antony Johnston wrote on hacking GTD to work with his writing process: http://antonyjohnston.com/articles/ to be really helpful. Steven Pressfield's Do the Work really helps me with dislodging that I-have-no-routine-no-process-and-no-discipline-feeling that shows up every Monday morning. It was free for a while on Kindle, so if you don't already have it, there are probably lots of folks over on booklending.com that have a copy. Good luck!
 
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
Top